David Broyles Staff Reporter
November 17, 2013
The phrase heard repeated at the Greater Mount Airy Area Habitat for Humanity appreciation at Haymore Memorial Baptist Church on Saturday night was “it’s all about the volunteers.”
“Tonight is all about what they have done for us (the affiliate),” said Habitat Financial Director Sheree Russo. “We wouldn’t be here today without our volunteers.”
Executive Director Neil Cothren echoed Russo’s comments as he told the audience it was “astounding” to see the contributions everyone involved with Habitat has made to make everything possible.
The event also featured opportunities for testimonials from the Hodges, Clark, Heaton and Hudson families and praising the efforts of the house build project at North Surry High School, which allowed students from across the county to earn credit at Surry Community College, which was also a partner with Habitat on the build.
Cassie Boyles spoke on behalf of the Clark family and thanked the volunteers for the many hours they put in to help and thanked the staff for working with the Clarks so the new home could be built on their property after the old home was removed.
“Habitat went through a lot for them,” said Boyles. “They could have said it was too much trouble. They (the Clarks) are enjoying life in a way they hadn’t got to before.”
Johnny and Michelle Hudson told the group they had helped with building seven houses and had learned many things about themselves and those around them in the process.
“We are so grateful for the selfless acts of the volunteers who have helped us,” said Johnny Hudson. “Without volunteers none of this would be possible. We truly appreciate all you have done.”
Certificates of recognition were awarded to the Surry Baptist Youth Group as the ReStore Group of the Year with Youth Pastor Kevin Minix accepting on their behalf and Virgil Hawks was named the ReStore Volunteer of the Year. Construction (site) Volunteers of the Year were Rob Sinton, Fred Susebach and David Peterson.
Habitat Board members recognized with certificates were Sandra Richards, Kevin Minix, Lindsay Willis, Lucy Ellen Gwyn and N.A. Barnes. Groups recognized for their support included the Mount Airy Fire Department, Cornerstone Baptist Church, Lowe’s Home Improvement, Mount Airy Junior Woman’s Club, Mount Airy Wesleyan, Surry Board of Realtors, Victory Baptist Church, White Plains Christian School and The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.
Surry County Schools Director of Secondary Curriculum and Instruction Jill Reinhardt called the schools’ partnership with SCC and Habitat “phenomenal” and said students had learned about giving back from Habitat as well. Reinhardt said the second home is scheduled to be completed by this Christmas and challenged the board to find a place and a family for the home.
County Commissioner Larry Phillips told the group the commissioners were thankful they get to be a part of the partnership with Habitat.
“My heart is with Habitat and what you’ve done,” said Phillips. “These days everybody is busy. Sometimes being busy makes us miss the greatest blessings of our community — working together. Our Savior said the greatest commandment was love your neighbor like you love yourself. With all my heart I thank you for being a good Samaritan.”
The local affiliate serves most of Surry County and some neighboring Virginia counties that do not have another affiliate nearby. According to information provided by the group, it was founded in 1993 by volunteers who wanted to do something about the great need for affordable housing in Surry County. Throughout the past 20 years, the affiliate has provided homes to 43 families.
Financial Director Sheree Russo earlier indicated Habitat offers a hand up, not a hand out. She said Habitat homes are not given away, the homeowners pay for the homes through an interest-free loan over 25 or 30 years. The monthly mortgage payments are then used to build more homes for deserving families. The affiliate is guided by the Board of Directors and several committees made up of volunteers.
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 336-719-1952.